Why and how you need to run a Mac speed test
Whether you're looking to keep your Mac running as efficiently as possible, troubleshooting a slow Mac, or looking to compare Mac speeds with newer models before you make that big purchase, there are a number of ways to test performance and run Mac speed tests.
Fortunately, there are many tools and apps available to help run Mac speed tests for various components including the central processing unit (CPU), hard drives, and graphic processing unit (graphics card).
How to run a Mac speed test
First, choose what element of your computer you want to test. We're going to run through the three most common tests and give you some helpful information on each testing method and what the results mean.
- CPU speed test
- Hard drive speed test
- Graphics card performance test
Top tip: Before you run any test make sure you don't have any other programs running to get the most accurate results.
Run a CPU Mac speed test
There are a number of ways to find out your processor speed in order to gauge your Mac's power. The good news is there are plenty of third-party apps available that can test and report the processing speed of your Mac (e.g. iBench). Typically, the software will run a series of standard everyday tasks designed to simulate real-world applications. These tests can take from 30 seconds to 20 minutes depending on your CPU and the software you're using.
Once completed, most tests will allocate a score based on your Mac's performance. There are two main scores to take into consideration once you have completed a test - single-core score and multi-core score. The single-core score shows how your CPU performs using only a single processor, and the multi-core test result shows how your CPU performs when it is pushed to the limit or under strain.
Once you have completed these tests, you can check results based on benchmark results for a range of default CPU makes and models. You can also benchmark against the latest Macs, making this test useful to compare the central processor before you decide what you need and upgrade to a newer model.
Run a Mac speed test of your hard drive
You might also want to measure your hard drive to see what it is capable of. Again, using a third-party tool to determine your hard drive speed is the best way to gather accurate information. Fortunately, there are plenty of free apps available on the App Store to accurately test the speed of your hard disk. One of the most popular on the App Store at the moment is the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. It will give you detailed, easy-to-read results like how fast videos and apps will load.
If you're looking to clean up your hard disk space, using software such as CCleaner for Mac is a great way to remove unwanted data and unused files, preserving valuable hard disk space, speeding up your machine.
Run a Mac speed test of your graphics card
There are a number of great apps available to test your graphics card performance. A good piece of free software is Maxon's Cinebench which will test your Mac's CPU and graphics card simultaneously. It's not available on the App Store but you can find it on Maxon's website.
It's a good idea to run multiple tests using different third-party tools to get a good cross-sample of results. We hope that once you run your tests the results aren't too far from what you expected. Remember to benchmark them against the exact model you are considering buying if you are upgrading.
When you do upgrade, it's a good idea to install CCleaner for Mac straight away to help keep your Mac free of clutter and working its best.
If your results show your Mac is running slower than average and you want to speed it up, read our article on how to speed up your Mac. We have a few tips and tricks that should have it running faster in no time at all.